How does a games publisher determine the success of a product or a business model? Mostly, profit. In the business world, it is the only reliable measure of whether you’re making sound business decisions or not.
Activision-Blizzard wound up with more than 50 million reasons for thinking that the online-single-player game model is a good one – and that was before they even launched it.
It’s an awkward time for games-publishers as the industry and market performs a very slow and protracted migration from physical retail sales to digital distribution.
You might think that with an increasing percentage of copies of games titles being sold via digital distribution channels that the publishers’ costs would be falling. Well, it isn’t getting any cheaper for them.
So, you might remember my writing about how Activision reaffirmed its commitment to triple-A teams, basically continuing working on the strategy of only making blockbuster hit games – just like every other big player in the gaming industry seems to be doing.
So, how’s that been working out for them?
The appeal of mercenary company simulators is somewhat more broadly-based than other gaming genres, as they tend to (more or less) successfully blend strategic, tactical and logistical tasks into an appealing framework. Choose your work, or your targets, select your personnel, make sure everyone’s equipped, fed and getting paid, fight your battles – and maybe get some looting and pillaging in on the side.
Here are my pet picks from the genre, in no specific order.
I’ve been thinking about The Sims 3 and Bioshock 2, and Dragon Age and other titles which I just haven’t picked up (and it doesn’t look like I am likely to). I know why that is. It’s the DLC/addons.